Can My Dentist Really Help Sleep Apnea?

treatment for sleep apnea in Northern VirginiaMany people wouldn’t think their dentist could help with sleep apnea, but the talented, experienced team at Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA certainly can! We can help if you or a loved one has symptoms of sleep apnea by fitting you with a custom oral appliance designed to keep the airway open during sleep.

Q: How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?

People with sleep apnea stop breathing during sleep because the airway becomes blocked. The patient may wake up gasping for air, feel tired all day, wakes up with a dry mouth, or even have issues with memory or concentration.

People who are overweight are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea because of excess soft tissue around the mouth and throat. This blocks the airway as the muscles relax during sleep because the tissue puts too much pressure on the already-relaxed muscles. The lower jaw also plays a role in blocking the airway in people with sleep apnea.

The dental team at Ridgetop Dental can fit you with an oral appliance, commonly referred to as a snore guard, that moves the lower jaw forward so it doesn’t block the airway while you sleep. Most patients report less snoring after being fitted for the device.

Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?

CPAP therapy is indeed the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment, but some patients either don’t respond well to it or want a less cumbersome method. With the snore guard, there are no tubes or machines to worry about, so you can avoid the inconvenient machine if it works for you.

Both methods of treatment operate on the same principle of keeping the airway open during sleep. The snore guard comfortably repositions the lower jaw to keep the soft tissues from collapsing over the airway.

The appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to keep the airway open. It’s a less invasive way to treat sleep apnea, as it’s a simple device that fits in the mouth instead of a machine with tubes and filters to worry about. The device repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep soft tissue from blocking the airway. It’s sturdy enough to withstand teeth grinding, so even people who struggle with bruxism can benefit from this form of treatment.

The expert staff of Ridgetop Dental in Sterling, VA wants to help you get better sleep. Call 703.520.7410 or schedule an appointment online today.

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